Sunday, 17 February 2019
An obviously delighted David Healy was full of praise for his Linfield players after overcoming a determined Ballymena United to lift the BetMcLean League Cup for the first time in eleven years.
"I'm pleased to win the game. We weren't at our best but what we were today was resilient, we showed a lot of character, we showed a lot of desire to put bodies on the line when we needed to and from 1 to 11 I thought the players gave me absolutely everything.
"In the second half especially we were bombarded by long throw-ins, long free-kicks, long balls into the box and the players stood up to it which was a credit to them professionally. I was very, very happy. Defensively, offensively and throughout the 90 minutes.
"People can make their own minds up who deserved to win. I'm sure people have differing opinions but we had the big moment in the game tonight and we won.
"The players were an absolute credit to the football club. Yes, it would have been nice to go and have played a little bit better but it was a credit to the boys that they stood up to the challenge.
"A lot of questions were asked defensively at the start of the season. Could we, would we and can we deal with different situations in a game and the players proved tonight that they can put bodies on the line and make the correct decisions at the correct time."
And, at the other end of the pitch, Healy was quick to pay tribute to match winner Andy Waterworth, whose 15th minute finish ultimately proved to be the difference between the sides.
"I spoke to Andy yesterday and made him aware that I was picking him. (Marek) Cervenka has done ok since he's been at the club and Michael (O'Connor) has done ok since he's been at the club but you go back and you think who is going to give you the big moment in the big game, the clutch moment in the game, and Andy produced a wonderful finish there."
But despite lifting the first piece of silverware of the season Healy is refusing to get carried away, insisting on taking things one game at a time.
"We are looking to beat Ballymena next week in the league. It's an unfortunate cliche but we are not looking too ahead of ourselves yet. We won the game today, we'll enjoy it tonight and we'll assess it, then get together on Tuesday and make sure that we're ready to go for another big game.
"Next Saturday is a massive game for us and with Crusaders obviously winning last night it brings them back into it. Us and Ballymena going head to head next week is going to bring somebody back in, whether we win or Ballymena win or if it's a draw it's going to open a door."